Tonight, Bachelorette Rachel Lindsay begins her journey to find love. And I'll be tuning in to watch it all unfold—along with 9.5 million other Bachelor fans.
After 15 years, 21 seasons (34 if you include The Bachelorette), and multiple spinoffs, The Bachelor franchise is still gaining momentum. Over the past few seasons, host Chris Harrison has even taken to referring to the collective population of the show's alums and the franchise's rabid fans (yours truly included) as "Bachelor Nation."
Why? Well, humans are hard-wired to root for love—to hope for a happily ever after. So, letting us watch "real" people fall in love appeals to the innocent in all of us. (And, of course, the high-stakes, high-booze nature of the game preys on our baser schadenfreude-ian inclinations.)
But how many of these televised happy endings are still happy months—or years—after the final rose, so to speak? Of the show's 34 total stars, 32 went home "in love and so happy."